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Maine’s Climate Future 2015 builds on the Maine’s Climate Future 2009 report (below); it is not intended as a comprehensive revision of all aspects of the original report. This update focuses on highlights of our understanding in 2015 of past, present, and future trends in key indicators of a changing climate specific to Maine, and recent examples of how Maine people are experiencing these changes. Sometimes the effects are the direct result of shifting temperature or precipitation. Other times, climate-related changes in other parts of the country and world affect Maine, directly or indirectly. Climate change often acts in concert with other stresses, including a changing chemical climate, rather than being a singular cause of any given change. Sometimes these changes represent a new opportunity.

Even if a coordinated response succeeds in eliminating excess greenhouse gas emissions by later in this century, something that appears highly unlikely today, climate change will continue because the elevated levels of carbon dioxide can persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years. What has emerged in the last five years since the initial report in 2009 is a broadening awareness that the changing climate is unfolding around us now, not just in the future, and that citizens are called on to adapt to these changes and prepare for the future. This reality does not diminish the need to dramatically bend the curve on rising greenhouse gas emissions, which is more important than ever. It does mean that both mitigation and adaptation are involved as Maine people move towards sustainability in the 21st century.


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